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State lawmaker wants more transparency at PSC

State Rep. Mark Pafford, a West Palm Beach Democrat, is seeking more transparency when it comes to the Florida Public Service Commission.

In legislation filed for the 2010 session, Pafford wants those who testify at PSC hearings to disclose any financial ties to the company or its entities. Pafford, a member of the Public Service Commission Nominating Council, said his legislation was prompted by the recent PSC controversies over rate-hike requests. Read his full press release below.

WEST PALM BEACH, FL – State Representative Mark Pafford (D-West Palm Beach) filed legislation for the 2010 legislative session to bring testimony before the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) into the sunshine.  House Bill 533 will require individuals who provide public comment at PSC hearings to disclose any financial relationship with a utility company, including any charitable contributions, gifts or any positions of governance that are held by an employee of a public utility within the organization represented.
Representative Pafford, a member of the Public Service Commission Nominating Council, thought of the idea for the bill while attending a public hearing regarding utility issues. He was concerned at the lack of transparency of those testifying before the PSC and wanted to prevent a reoccurrence.
“I heard employees of utility companies discuss the names of those who would be testifying and what that person would be addressing before they even made it to the microphone,” said Representative Pafford.  “This is not in the best interest of our consumers or good government, and legislation is needed to address this situation.”
A SunSentinel analysis in September 2009 found that more than a third of the customers, business leaders and politicians who praised Florida Power & Light at three forums held in South Florida had financial or family ties to the company and its employees.
State Senator Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey) has agreed to sponsor the bill in the Florida Senate.